Thuthukile Zuma is the youngest daughter of former South African president Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. She is the former Chief of Staff, Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
Having been appointed to the top position in her mid-20s, Jacob Zuma’s daughter holds the record as the youngest head of a minister’s office ever appointed in the rainbow nation. Thuthu now works as a freelance administrator and writer for the multi-award-winning TV production company, Stained Glass Productions.
She co-owns a production company called Nyenyedzi Productions with her sisters, Gugulethu and Nokuthula. The company is known for producing South African TV series such as It’s My Life. The 34 years old is also a well-recognized member of the African National Congress. In April 2021, she was appointed as the head of the African National Congress Youth League Fundraising Task Team.
How Old is Thuthukile Zuma?
Thuthukile Zuma is 34 years old. She was born to Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on April 18th, 1989, in South Africa. She is of the Zulu tribe and can speak Zulu and English fluently. The prominent ANC member has made eye-catching achievements at a young age.
In May 2014, at the age of 25, her controversial appointment as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services made her the youngest person in South Africa to become head of a minister’s office.
In early 2021, when she was 31 years old, Thuthu was appointed the head of the African National Congress Youth League’s fundraising task team. She has previously served as the ANCYL Chairperson of the Johannesburg branch and the ANC youth wing’s branch secretary.
Who are Thuthu’s Parents?
Thuthukile’s father, Jacob Zuma, needs no introduction in South Africa as he served as the country’s president from 2009 to 2018. In recent years, he further graced the news headlines for getting incarcerated for contempt of court amid prosecution on corruption charges.
His imprisonment in July 2021 led to enormous unrest in some major cities in the country and equally propelled the division within the African National Congress. Zuma was released in September 2021 on medical parole and is still on trial for corruption charges.
On the other hand, Thuthukile’s mother, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is a politician, medical doctor, and anti-apartheid activist. She is one of the senior members of the African National Congress. From 1994 to 1999, she served as South Africa’s Minister of Health under President Nelson Mandela. Then during Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe’s administrations, she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Also, she served as the Minister of Home Affairs in the first term of her former husband, Jacob Zuma. She was appointed Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission for Policy and Evaluation when Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma in 2018.
Later on May 30th, 2019, she assumed office as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and still retains the role to date. A Zulu, Thuthukile Zuma’s mother was born in Natal on January 27th, 1949. She acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Zululand and began her medical studies at the University of Natal.
She completed her studies at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and further obtained a Diploma in Tropical Child Health from Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine, UK.
Meet Thuthukile Zuma’s Siblings
Thuthukile Zuma’s parents got married in 1982. After 16 years of marriage, her mother filed for a divorce in 1998. The marriage produced four daughters, namely Msholozi Zuma, Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube, Nokuthula Nomaqhawe Zuma, and Thuthukile Zuma.
While Thuthu’s siblings pursued careers in the entertainment industry, the former chief of staff is the only one heavily involved in politics and the African National Congress on behalf of her parents. Here’s what her sisters are up to.
Msholozi Zuma is the first daughter of Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She was born in Swaziland in 1982 when her parents were in exile as anti-apartheid activists. She was named after her father’s Zulu clan name, Msholozi.
Thuthu’s sister avoids the spotlight and once made the news when she went with her father to the IEC point in Nkandla in 2013, and her name wasn’t on the voter’s roll because she had a Swaziland document. After her dad made a few urgent phone calls, she was eventually registered, explaining that she was born in exile.
Gugulethu “Gugu” Zuma-Ncube
Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s second daughter, Gugulethu, is a producer and actress known for her appearances in Isidingo, Rhythm City, and Interrogation Room. Together with Kobedi “Pepsi” Pokane, Gugu owns Stained Glass Productions.
The multi-award-winning TV production company is well known for producing top South African soap operas, including Uzalo, The Wife, Durban Gen, and Lingashoni. Gugulethu Ncube-Zuma was born in 1985 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a graduate of AFDA, a private higher education institution that provides film, radio, television, podcasting, performance, business innovation, and technology courses.
She earned a Live Performance degree from the institution in 2007. Later in December 2008, Thuthukile Zuma’s sister got married to mathematician Wesley Ncube, the son of Zimbabwean politician Prof Welshman Ncube.
Nokuthula “Thuli” Nomaqhawe Zuma
Nokuthula was born in the year 1987. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and another Master’s degree in Public Policy Management from Wits University. Since 2010, Thuli has been associated with the Presidency Department of Monitoring and Evaluation. She is a co-owner of Nyenyedzi Productions. As an actress, she has been featured in TV series such as It’s My Life.
Thuthukile Zuma’s Educational Qualifications
Thuthu Zuma attended Westerford High School and graduated in the year 2006. While in high school, the politically-inclined daughter of Jacob Zuma was a member of the History and Current Affairs Committee. She was also on the debating team and equally had interests in sports and entertainment. Hence, she served as the hockey team captain and One-Act Play director.
She later enrolled in the University of Witwatersrand and majored in International Relations, Sociology, and Anthropology. She graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011. During her time on Campus, Thuthukile Zuma was a South African Students Congress member. She was also a Branch Executive Committee Member of the African National Congress Youth League and a member of the Young Communist League.
Following her graduation in 2011, the ANC member enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree programme in Anthropology at the same university. She then achieved her post-graduate degree the following year. Other of her special achievements at the University of Witwatersrand are:
- Certificate of First Class in History and Development of Anthropological Thought
- Certificate of First Class in History and Relationships of African Languages
- Certificate of Achievement in Sociology of Africa
- Post Graduate Merit Scholarship
- Tutor Training Certificate
While in High School, Jacob Zuma’s Daughter Worked as a TV Presenter
Following her involvement in her school’s drama team and her role as the director of One-Act Play, Thuthukile Zuma decided to pursue her interest in entertainment by joining Octigon as a TV presenter in 2004 when she was still a high school student.
While there, she presented Destination SA, a youth-based magazine TV show exploring South Africa on SABC2. She also did voiceovers and presented pre-recorded content and live shows. She later left the job in 2005.
After graduating from the University of Witwatersrand in 2011, Thuthu started working as a tutor in her alma mater. She tutored first-year Anthropology students and worked as the invigilator of first-year examinations.
Thuthukile Zuma’s Controversial Chief of Staff Appointment
Thuthukile Zuma worked as a public liaison officer at the State Security Agency from 2013 to 2014. Her roles included research work, speech writing, and overseeing all public engagements of the Minister. She also facilitated correspondence between the Minister and members of the public. Later in May 2014, Jacob Zuma’s daughter assumed office as the Chief of Staff, Department of Telecommunications to Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
Her appointment was met with heavy criticism countrywide. Many perceived her to have lacked the experience and skills for such a powerful position. Some others also raised concerns about nepotism as she has a personal relationship with then-president Jacob Zuma. The Chief of staff position requires at least five to ten years of experience at the senior management level.
The person must also understand ministerial services and parliamentary functions to oversee the overall management of the ministry, as well as the knowledge of the Public Finance Management Act and Public Service Management Framework. With Thuthukile only working for a few months at the Ministry of State Service and the chief of staff position not advertised in public, formal complaints were filed against her appointment.
However, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Sevices maintained that Thuhukile Zuma was not given preferential treatment. Instead, she was hired due to her qualifications and capacity to do the job. Jacob Zuma’s daughter earned almost R1 million in salary per year for her role as the Chief of Staff, and in December 2015, she quietly resigned from the job amid widespread criticism from the public.
Thuthu Joined Stained Glass Production in 2017
Moving on from her powerful position as the chief of staff, Thuthukile Zuma was recruited by Thusanani Foundation as a manager in 2016. During her brief stint at the organization, she carried out diverse roles on behalf of the foundation. They included raising donations, liaising with different stakeholders, initiating strategic partnerships, and identifying schools and communities in rural areas needing Thusanani programmes.
Thuthu started working as a researcher at Stained Glass Productions in the following year. She researched diverse subject matters and prepared presentations and reports. She then went on to join KNN as a researcher in 2019. That same year, she returned to Stained Glass Productions, where she works as a freelance administrator and writer. She is also involved in casting roles at the production company.
She was appointed the Head of ANCYL Fundraising Task Team in 2021
On April 12th, 2021, Jacob Zuma’s daughter was appointed the head of the African National Congress Youth League’s Fundraising Task Team. As a result, she will be responsible for the youth wing’s fundraising. The party’s National Youth Task Team (NYTT) was newly created in early 2021 to overcome money issues caused by gross financial mismanagement and grand-scale looting by the leaders.
The ANC’s national executive committee created the task team to replace the one appointed in 2019 after the ANCYL disbandment. Before the appointment, Thuthukile Zuma has been very active in the ANC branch in Johannesburg.
She was among the seven candidates recommended by the Parliament to president Cyril Ramaphosa for appointment to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board in 2020. Before that, she served as the chairperson and secretary of the ANCYL’s Bheki Mkhize branch in Northcliff, Johannesburg.
Between 2005 and 2013, Thuthukile Zuma got engaged in some volunteering work. She started as a youth volunteer for Molo Shongololo NGO in 2005 and helped debate children’s issues with other volunteers, contributing to the amendment of the Children’s Bill.
While serving as a volunteer for the African Religious and Health Assets Programme in 2009, she helped facilitate workshops on sexual health for young people in high school. Thuthu also moved to Luthuli House – ANC’s headquarters, in 2011 alongside her sister, Gugulethu, as volunteers for the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the African National Congress.
While there, she visited ANC branches to monitor its functionality and other related issues. She also compiled reports for the branches and regions visited. In 2013, she volunteered for Thusanani Foundation and Rural Reflect.
Is Thuthukile Zuma Married?
When it comes to her personal life, Thuthu is a very private person. As a result, it’s still uncertain if she is married or still single at the moment. She has never shared posts about her love life on social media platforms. However, on some occasions, she has shared pictures of herself and her children, two boys named Langa and Kwame. Hopefully, she will reveal her marital status and family life soon.
Is Thuthukile Zuma on Instagram?
Yes, the head of the ANCYL fundraising task team is active on Instagram. Her Instagram handle (@thuthuzuma) has more than 2700 followers with over 400 posts. Thuthukile Zuma is more active on Twitter, as her account (Thuthu_Zuma) boasts over 14.9K followers. She often shares posts on her activities in the African National Congress Youth League and her family pictures.